Table Trestles-Part 5

Progress is being made in drips and drabs.

In my last post I reviewed my day of wood butchery.  I’m happy to report that my repairs were successful and the split tops are once again solid.  The second round of assembly went without incident and all four trestles are together.



Once the glue dried, the next step was to trim the tenon stubs and clean the tops up with a plane.


tables_seating_proportionsThen I leveled and trimmed each trestle for final height.  The final height of these trestles is dependent upon the thickness of the top.  In my design drawing I intentionally made these trestles tall enough to be used as a standing work table or to be trimmed to dinning or writing height.  I made a reference drawing and posted it a while back that I use to determine the heights of stools, chairs and tables.  These heights are based upon my own body.  Specifically my hand span (222mm).  The drawing is proportional and will scale to anyone.  (Hand span is distance between tip of little finger and tip of thumb when fingers are spread to their widest)

The point being is that I needed the thickness of the table top to accurately trim the height of the trestles.  After a lot of back and forth I settled on using 2x SYP for my table tops.  These tops should finish out at 36mm(1-7/16″).  To mark the legs I tried a method exampled in Peter Galbert’s book, “A Chairmaker’s Notebook.  The method is to tape a pencil to a bevel gauge.  This gives a pretty easy of way of adjusting the height and marking the legs.  Once I shimmed a trestle level I measured the distance from ground to the top of the trestle.  Then added the top thickness to that distance.  From that I subtracted my desired finished table height.  The remainder being the amount of leg to be trimmed away.


Once I had all of the trestles trimmed, I moved them onto the sun porch so I would have room to work in the shop without fear of damaging them.  The trestles are not quite complete at this point, but the remaining work is dependent upon them being mated to the tops.


Which brings me to the tops themselves.  As I said earlier, I’m making these tops from 2x SYP construction lumber.  I waffled on this decision quite a bit.  A 2x top is heavy, but durable.  A 1x top would be lighter, but lacking in durability.  Either would work for dinning, but I know that these tables will be used for much more than simple dinning.  The “extra” table will spend most of its life as a craft/work table out on the sun porch or wherever it may be needed.

I went to the big box store in hopes of purchasing 2×12 lumber.  Three 2x12s would be enough for each top.  However, the offerings of 2×12 were pretty sad.  Boards that were full of knots, cups and twists.  The 2×10 offerings yielded a much better material and that is what I loaded into the truck.  Four 2x10s will make up each top with plenty of width to trim to final size.

These four will make up the better of the two tops and will be used on our daily dinning table.


The other four pieces are a little more rugged, but not by much.

The first task was to cut all of the boards to rough length.  To edge glue these boards together I need to plane one face true being sure to check for any twist.  Then square both of the edges to that face.  It’s a fair amount of work with hand planes and I decided from the start to tackle these in stages.  I’ll surface and joint two boards and glue them together.  This will eventually yield four two-board panels.  Then I’ll joint and glue two of those panels together to create a table top.  Much easier for a one-man shop than trying to tackle them all at once.

The result of working on two boards.


I’m using biscuits to aid in aligning the boards.img_2927


Two boards glued and in the clamps.


I’ll just keep plugging away at the remainder of the boards until I’m done.

 Part 4 Greg Merritt

Posted in Table Trestles | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Table Trestles-Part 4

My day in the shop, henceforth known as the great wood massacre of February 2017, did not go smoothly.  All of my problems were of my own making however.  I was working with an unfamiliar material (poplar) as well as an unfamiliar tool.  To finish off the perfect recipe for disaster I changed one of my techniques.  Stupid, stupid, stupid. Continue reading

Posted in Table Trestles | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Table Trestles-Part 3

With the top slabs thicknessed, cut to size and squared it was time for the layout.  This was a simple task of transferring the layout from my design drawing to the slabs.

trestle_standard_tableThere are several ways that I can translate my scaled drawing into full-scale.  Sometimes I simply pull out a piece of paper and draw the project to size.  This is handy because it gives me something to continually check my actual pieces against.  Other times I may lay out a story stick.  For this project I simply created a full-scale version of the module block that is found on the drawing.  No matter the method, most of the work is done with dividers once the initial base measurement is established.  In this case that measurement is 180mm. Continue reading

Posted in Table Trestles | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Table Trestles-Part 2

I’m not what I used to be.  Desk work at the day job has made me soft and nothing proves it quicker than surfacing and thicknessing rough lumber by hand.  I’m sore, but I’m got the job done.

It’s not an exciting process to write a blog post about, so here is the gist of it.  I have four slabs of poplar to contend with for my trestles.  I have already cut these slabs to rough length and began the process by rigging up a way to hold them on the bench.  Nothing fancy.  I have a center board on my bench that can be raised to create a stop and one end of the slab can butt up against the planing stop of the bench.  To secure the other end of the slab, I simply screwed a block of wood to my bench.  That’s one of the nice things about having a simple bench.  I have no qualms about screwing or nailing stuff to it if the need arrises. Continue reading

Posted in Table Trestles | Tagged | 18 Comments

Table Trestles-Part 1

The List.

If you are a woodworker with a significant other, than you are well aware of the list.  It is that list of things that our significant other wants us to build.  Sometimes we make excuses why we don’t build this or that.  Other times we use the list to score a new tool or two.  Not me of course, but I have heard stories.  Luckily, management’s list is typically short.  Although she reserves the right to make a last-minute addendum (demand) to it.  Anyway, the absolute number one on management’s list is a couple of, easily moved, dining tables.  Oh, and seating for said same.  So nothing too much.  LOL Continue reading

Posted in Illustrating, Table Trestles | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Saddling My Horse

Through a strange sequence of events and serious risk to my health and wellbeing, I was able to work at my shaving horse for several hours yesterday.  Sounds great and it was, but the back-of-my-front is pretty dang sore today.  I have a good bit of work yet to do at the horse so a remedy for comfort was now top priority. Continue reading

Posted in Shaving Horse, Tools, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Tapered Octagonal Legs with the OCTA-LEG-PRO

I really like the staked furniture method.  I like the design process and the making.  Consequently, I have several staked projects on the “to-do” list.  Since I don’t own or plan to add a lathe to my shop, the tapered, octagonal leg is my leg design of choice.  I also typically design my projects with proportions.  So I am faced with a choice.  Either design new leg proportions for each project or come up with a standardized method for making the legs. Continue reading

Posted in OCTA-LEG-PRO Gauge, Tapered Octagonal Legs, Tools | Tagged , , | 24 Comments